Voltage Regulator Analysis
With more and more things being integrated into the CPU and PCH, there isn't much that sets motherboards apart, however, the voltage regulator is still one part of the motherboard that differs greatly between manufacturers, and even between models of the same brand. It is important to review the hardware to see exactly what you are paying for.
The CPU VRM features a total of 12 phases with Vishay PowerPAK Low RDS(ON) MOSFETs (Vishay calls them TrechFETs). These PowerPAKs are common MOSFETs used by a wide variety of manufacturers in lieu of traditional D-PAK MOSFETs. There are a total of 8 output capacitors, each at 560uF for a total of 4480uF slightly above the average we have seen on Z97 boards in this price range, these are custom made 10K capacitors from Nippon Chemi-Con. There are also 12x 0.5uH ferrite core inductors.
GIGABYTE has used the Vishay SiRA12 TrechFETs for both the high-side and low-side MOSFETs. They have used two MOSFETs per phase, which should be enough considering there are a total of 12 phases. GIGABYTE then employed an International Rectifier IR3563B digital PWM, a trusted 8-phase model used on many overclocking boards. However, only 6 out of the 8 phases are being utilized, those 6 phases are then doubled through the use of six International Rectifier IR3598s. The doublers are how GIGABYTE gets 12 phases, considering there are no 12 phase PWMs in use today.
The use of all International Rectifier control chips allows GIGABYTE to take full advantage of most of the PWM's features. There are no backside components on this VRM, and the board uses 2oz of copper in the power and ground layers, which provides cooling capacity through the PCB, and better signal quality. It might be relevant to mention that there seems to be no difference in the VRM between this board and the Black Edition of this board.
The memory VRM is made up of two phases using Vishay SiRA18 TrechFETs both for the low-side and high-side. The low-side features two MOSFETs per phase while a single MOSFET is used for the high-side, this makes for a total of three MOSFETs for each phase. An International Rectifier IR3570 digital PWM is used for the memory, it's a 3+2 phase PWM, and a single IR3598 is used as a dual driver (on the back of the board).
The IR3598 is an interesting chip because it has two operating modes. It can be used with a single PWM input and output two sets of driver signals, or it can be provided two PWM inputs and output two sets of driver signals. The first method would result in doubling, and the second is just space saving, and doesn't impact anything performance wise.
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